Amy Winehouse – Addict or Victim…or Both?

Last weekend, I tweeted what could very well be interpreted as a compassionless comment in which I said I had no sympathy for Amy Winehouse.  While my seemingly heartless tweet was met mostly with agreement, I feel the need to qualify my statement.  As I said in response to another comment on the Facebook page, I suppose I’m a bit callous and jaded, but when you’ve seen as much destruction drugs can do as I have, it tends to have that effect

I read a commentary by Russell Brand (yes, that one) about the death of Ms Winehouse.  You can read it here.  I found his post both moving and interesting for a couple of reasons.  First off, I’m obviously not an addict, recovering or otherwise, so his point of view was one that I had not considered.  It was well written and heartfully so.  The care Brand carries for Winehouse is palpable.  One can almost insert oneself into his mind and see the affection he held for her.

There is one thing I take an exception to in Brand’s treatise: Criminalization.    While I understand his desire to get addicts free from their disease (on this I can’t but agree…it is truly a sickness), Brand’s position regarding the decriminalization of drugs strikes me as not only naive but dangerous as well.  While your average addict may not get the assistance they need from an incarceration setting, I assure you there are programs inside the corrections system designed specifically for those that suffer from the disease of addiction.  Keep in mind, sending them to prison for drug charges is typically in conjunction with some other crime they committed in order to support their habit.

Case in point: We recently arrested (on two different occasions, by the way) a mother of a 2-year-old little girl.  The first was for battering her own mother; the second for drug related charges.  This woman is a user…she is also a seller.  She is selling dope to further her own habit.  She is so bad, in fact, that when she was eight months pregnant, she was arrested for being under the influence of meth.  The officer that arrested her charged her with felony child endangerment as well.  I say bravo.  The DA “liked his thinking” but ultimately didn’t file that charge (yet another issue I have with prosecutors).

This mother is not unique.  She, and those of her ilk, are frequently responsible for an untold number of property crimes.  Dope is a victimless crime?  Tell that to the citizen (albeit stupid citizen) that left his/her laptop in plain sight in a locked vehicle.  The result of their ignorance is a smashed window and a stolen laptop.  There are a multitude of folks just like her that will lie, cheat, and steal for their habit.  You know what that is?  That’s criminal.  I may not be an addict myself, but I can attest to the veracity of that statement.  When I was younger, I had a friend living with us.  He was an addict.  Crack, specifically.  He stole from us.  He lied to us.  I was very fond of him and still wish that our offers of assistance were met with more positive results, but his disease was more important to him that our relationship.  (23 years later, I interviewed him in a  professional capacity in the local lock-up).

On a larger scale, I have a serious problem with society lauding the “27 club” as damn near an honorable thing.  They were a slew of extremely troubled, yet talented, kids.  They ultimately succumbed to the demon of their own creation.  Their fame became bigger than them and they paid the ultimate price to ride that fame train.  One can’t argue the sheer talent of Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Winehouse.  They died from years of drug/alcohol abuse.  I realize the literal cause of death of each may not be blamed on drugs (in Cobain’s case, he committed suicide using a shotgun), but I would argue one can draw an easy line between their eventual death and a long, catalogued history of abuse.

I wish our prison/jail cells weren’t filled with drug offenders.  I wish they were getting the help they needed.  The brutal reality of it, as Brand says, the addict has to be the one to ask for that help.  In my experience, until they make that leap, the only thing they understand, much like the rest of society, is that actions have consequence.  It isn’t until those consequences get to be overwhelming and they are no longer willing to pay for them (in whatever fashion that may be) that the help they truly need will be accepted.

Until then, I will continue to arrest them and prevent their addiction/disease/affliction from negatively impact the rest of the citizenry.  Try explaining to a woman, now a single mother with four children, that the man who drove under the influence of alcohol/drugs/prescription meds was “sick” when he killed her husband and the father of her children.

What do you think?  Is addiction a disease that should be treated as such or is it more?

For a non-LEO point of view regarding the passing of Ms Winehouse, visit Jeff Goins.  He has some insights about fame and celebrity.

Photo Credit: Flickr and Reverendo Franklin

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

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26 thoughts on “Amy Winehouse – Addict or Victim…or Both?

  1. Can I provide you with some reasons why people argue in favour of decriminalisation (not to be confused with legalisation).

    The starting point is that currently somebody who thinks they are addicted to drugs (‘illegal’ drugs to be specific) can’t just walk up to their doctor and say ‘hey, I think I’ve got an addiction to meth/ crack/ cannabis/ etc’ as there’s only one outcome – arrest, conviction, prison, ruined career & life.

    Contrast that with a decriminalised system: doctor can refer you to a rehab clinic confidentially, (assuming full, speedy recovery) little/ no effect on employment, no conviction, no taxpayers money spent on law enforcement time or prison -> person gets ‘second chance’. Obviously this only applies to users – dealers are dealt with through CJS.

    Secondly, with regards to ‘other offences being committed’ e.g. laptop theft (in your example), as people can usually keep their job, or get help quicker, they have an income to support them or kick their habit before it reaches those levels. Obviously this doesn’t apply to every case -especially income, as many addicts are jobless/ low income -, but I’m sure you (LEO) and taxpayers would prefer even only a few percent of people being able to go clean (and reduce potential future ‘reoffending’).

    Sorry if that sounds like a rambling mess, but it’s late at night (and, yes, I am the same ‘Mark’ as on Facebook).

    • Mark, I can see your point of view. I suppose that somewhere in the midst of all this mess is a solution. Unfortunately, the epidemic continues and a solution that seems equitable to all sides may very well be a pipe dream. Pun totally intended.

    • Mark wrote: “currently somebody who thinks they are addicted to drugs (‘illegal’ drugs to be specific) can’t just walk up to their doctor and say ‘hey, I think I’ve got an addiction to meth/ crack/ cannabis/ etc’ as there’s only one outcome – arrest, conviction, prison, ruined career & life.”

      Is this actually correct? I’m asking a genuine question here, not trying to be snarky, because I truly don’t know the answer. But I would have thought that the Hippocratic oath would require doctors to keep confidentiality and just treat their patients. Do they really have to go straight to the cops and have any self-reported addicts arrested, as Mark says? I’m curious about this…

      • A good point, Keynyn. To my knowledge, a person can check themselves into rehab (for a fee in most cases is my assumption) and a doctor (at a hospital…I assume a rehab facility will have doctors) need not be involved. If an addict wants help, there is help to be had that does not need to begin with arrest and/or incarceration. There seems to be some confusion about what Mark was saying…perhaps he can clarify if my response only served to muddy the waters.

  2. Addiction is an issue with both physical & psychological components. For some people, it may be predominantly psychological. I have great sympathy for mental illness, but much less for addiction. Simply put, addiction is not something you wake up with one morning. It requires exposure–generally speaking, repeated exposure–to the addictive agent. There is, thus, an element of choice in this illness that is present in few other illnesses. For all the comparisons I have seen to cancer…they’re really not comparable. Amy Winehouse’s death is in no way comparable to my 2-year-old niece’s death from a cancerous brain tumor, and to tell the truth, the attempts at connecting the two in however slight a manner insult my intelligence and ethics.

    I find your take on the decriminalization of drugs an interesting one, by the way, and would appreciate a fuller post on the subject. I am constantly debating this with my more libertarian-minded husband. His position is that decriminalization would lead to fewer crimes were people able to purchase drugs legally; I’m not so sure. (May be the part of town I grew up in, but I find it hard to trust criminals would suddenly turn into law-abiding taxpayers.)

    • Sabra, I completely agree with the incompatibility between Winehouse and your niece. Your niece’s passing is by far more tragic and I won’t bother to even begin to make correlations. If other commenter’s responses are any indication, there are a myriad of opinions around the subject of addiction. Hell, I work with cops that think legalizing pot is the way to go. Regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, the law is still the law (except maybe in the case of pot and CA…shocking). CA law now has possession of less than an ounce of pot as an infraction.

      • Sabra, I wasn’t sure where I stood on the issue until I read your post. But I will be taking it one step further. Addiction is not an illness. It is a path one chooses by not taking another when it was available. When you wind up on a dead end road, it is because you did not turn where you should have. When I was younger, I tried cocaine, just to see what it was like. Then I tried it several more times because I really, really liked it. Then I realized that liking an addictive substance as much as I liked coke could not be a good thing, and so I did not try it again. I made the choice to not be addicted by no longer imbibing the addictive substance. I also never got addicted to cigarettes by following rules that made smoking more difficult: I did not spend money on them, never smoked inside, and generally only smoked in the company of others. I did that for fourteen years. After I met my husband, who has never smoked, I quit. I didn’t buy a device, book, tape, pill, patch, gum, or go to a class. I just stopped smoking. I could do that, because I had made choices that made quitting easy. No one winds up an addict because of an act of fate or by fault of anyone else. They made the decisions that let things get that far. That’s not victimization. That’s free will. The only addicts who are truly victims are infants born to users. Some exceptions may be made for those requiring heavy prescriptions for whatever reason, but that’s going into a gray area.

        • You are lucky, then.

          Your body chemistry allowed you to quit easily.

          There are people who are not so lucky, whose body chemistry causes them to be addicted immediately and makes it very difficult just to stop taking the drug when they see themselves heading down the wrong path – people who, in a similar situation as yours, might still be smoking and doing coke because they can’t just drop it and walk away.

          I seriously doubt most addicts saw a life of homelessness and crime, living on the streets with a long criminal record, a host of medical problems and no friends or hope for life and thought ‘YES! This is what I want, please pass that pipe!’. Instead, they were some kid at a party trying coke for the first time, or sneaking whiskey out of their dad’s cabinet before school, with no idea that once they started they wouldn’t be able to stop and that this one moment would decide their fate as a lifelong petty (or violent) criminal, destroying their lives and the lives of families, friends, strangers…

          This is not to say they should have taken up with any of these things in the first place, but addiction is an illness – a self-induced illness, but still an illness combining physical and mental dependence that many cannot just ‘walk away’ from due to genetic predisposition or a chemistry that makes them especially vulnerable to a particular drug. It’s easy to say ‘Well, they never should have tried it! They should never have had that first sip/toke/snort’ – well, obviously. But their fault or not, it’s happened, and they cannot stop addiction’s progress. It seems somewhat callous to admit to trying illicit substances, and then declare addiction not an illness because YOU could walk away after those bad choices. Not everyone can.

  3. I wish I could find the articles and studies, but some done in places where drug laws are more open find that crimes like theft go *down* when drugs are made legal. If they’re available on the open market they are often less expensive so the need to steal is reduced. Would this work in the US? It’s hard to tell. Overall our society is different than the European countries where this has happened.

    The argument that addicts just have to ask for help is also interesting, as I’m constantly hearing about addicts desperate to get into treatment programs that are way, way overbooked. The horrific thing is that going cold turkey off of many drugs will kill you faster than taking the damned things in the first place. Having gone through morphine withdrawal first hand — a drug I was taking legally, mind you — I can tell you in graphic detail just how horrific and deadly it can be. (It’s a long story and in the end I was able to get tapered off and not wind up in a hospital.)

    What really irks me most about treatment programs is that they are usually seen as cash cows, not ways of helping people. The way we treat people with mental illnesses – many addicts have it, whether it’s the outright cause of their problem – in this country is ethically corrupt. If people with cancer were treated the same way as those with mental illness there would be far more dead people and more outrage. Because of this cash cow attitude, the poorest people wind up on 12 months or longer waiting lists for treatment programs, while people with insurance wind up – if there’s a wait it’s far shorter – in nicer programs that milk the insurance companies for every last dime possible. But since it’s mental health, it’s not well covered, so the addict has to pay tons, too.

    The worst example I saw of this was at a mental hospital I was sadly too familiar with (not as a patient). Their mood disorder floor was overhauled and it was so pleasant — an indoor garden with natural lighting (sunlight may help mood disorders) from above, comfortable couches and chairs, an open design so the patients were easily visible yet had some amount of freedom, it was very pleasant.

    A year later I had reason to visit another patient admitted for a mood-disorder and found them in a typical hospital room with little natural light and the typical institutional feel. I asked and found out that the old M-D floor was given to the addiction treatment floor so they could ramp their rates up, to make more money. I wanted to cry.

  4. I think legalizing pot would reduce the number of new addicts, by removing it’s status as a gateway drug. I blogged about it a few months ago…

    http://shiningpearlsofsomething.blogspot.com/2011/02/butcher-stalks-sacred-cow.html

    and then –

    http://shiningpearlsofsomething.blogspot.com/2011/02/on-other-hand.html

    In the end, money currently used on enforcement and imprisonment, would be much better spent on rehab. Those who choose destructive behavior anyway can stay in prison, where they can’t hurt anyone.

  5. Yes, addiction is a disease and should be treated as such. And Amy Winehouse was both an addict and a victim. Putting her in jail seems like a waste of resources, and not conducive to helping her recover. However. Let’s say she lives in my hometown and she goes down to the bus station and buys some heroin from a guy named Joe. Joe works for a guy named Steve, Steve is a little farther up the food chain. I know Joe. He is the guy who broke into my mother’s house and stole her jewelry, including pieces my deceased father had given her. He made her afraid to be in her own home. Joe is a heroin addict, and he trades my mom’s jewelry to Steve for some dope. When they catch Steve and Joe, Joe goes off to jail for awhile and Steve gets sent to prison. Steve threatens to kill my mother at his sentencing. My mom is in her 70s. Perhaps you can imagine what I would like to see done to Joe and Steve. DON’T FUCK WITH MY MOM, YOU FUCKING WORTHLESS DOUCHEBAG PIECES OF SHIT. (Sorry, I don’t like Joe and Steve.) So…what to do about Amy? Should Amy go to prison? On the surface it seems like Amy who doesn’t need to steal to support her habit is not victimizing me, but is that really the case? I don’t know the answers. I do know I have great sympathy for addiction, and absolutely zero tolerance for the shit that runs alongside it.

    The police got almost all my mom’s jewelry back, by the way. It’s all I can do not to hug you guys every time I see you. “Ma’am, please…no touching.”

  6. MC, Keynyn and Mark; currently, anyone can go to their Doctor for self-referral, with no criminal repercussions (unless you tell the Dr of a specific crime, with enough details to report it).

    Only a total toolbag of an MD would report you, and even then, based on what evidence? Where’s the PC for an arrest and conviction? HIPAA laws prevent the doc from telling LE about drug use unless you’re homicidal, suicidal, or confess child/elder abuse.

  7. I do not agree with the decriminalisation crowd. Look at the gigantic harm which decriminalised drugs are causing society as we speak. Alcohol claims lives, and ruins families. Cigarettes are adding TENS of BILLIONS of dollars to our healthcare bill. Passive smoking is causing even more harm.

    And the addict chooses to be addicted. He or she cannot be condoned.

    • Drug addiction is a problem; nobody disagrees, but is prohibition the solution? If it was reducing the number of addicts, I’d be all for it, but it’s not. The “decriminalization crowd” is no longer made up of hippies. It’s made up of people who are tired of spending billions of tax dollars on and enterprise that has failed spectacularly. Here’s a scary thought: in 1970, the U.S. prison population was less than 400,000. It’s now over 3 million, and violent criminals are walking free because we can’t afford to keep them behind bars. If we were to treat and release those addicts who want to be rehabilitated, we’d have plenty of room in our prisons for the people who NEED to be there. The war on drugs, as we’ve been fighting it, is an appallingly inefficient waste of resources.

  8. I don’t thnk that decriminalising drugs would result in a totla end to crime, but I do think it would result in significant reductions. A lot of individuals who use drugs commit other crimes in order to fund their habits. If they can get drugs without resorting to staling to buy them, *mostly* they will.

    I have found records of trials in PSain and in the UK, both of which reported significant drops in crime – in the UK trial, the number of crimes commited fell by almost 75% . I have not been able to fidn figures for the Spanish trial as only an abstract appears to be available online, but the summery refers to ‘substantial’ reductions.

    Certainly here in the UK, the issue of being able to ask for help is not necessarily a big issue – doctors are not under any obligation to report addicts to the police, not are other professionals. it is common in Child Care proceedings for drug addiction t be part of the picture – Social Workers and other professionals will be aware of the drug use but are not obliged to report it.

    Here, at leaset, I thionk a big part of the problem is that may of the services offering treatment and support are under-funded and over stretched. I’m aware that for prisoners,. those on short sentances will generally not get any significant help with addictions as they are not in prison long enough to reach the top of the waiting lists. In-patient, intensive treatment is available for those able to pay privately but most other services are done on an outreach basis so the support may be limited.

    I think there is an argument that diverting funding to provide better support and treatment (including providing drugs on prescription) would be cost effective, as the increased costs of treatment would be off-set by reductions in thecosts of crime and dealing with it, and would also increae the chances of addicts who do manage to control or overcome their addictions being able to return to a more ‘normal’ life if they don’t have long criminal records.

    If the posession/use of drugs were to be decriminilised, leaving supply/dealing (except by authorised medic supplying under prescription) that would, I suspect, significantly reduce the level of drug-related crime. Those individuals who continued to commit crimes could be arrested and dealt with on the basis of the criems they commit – i.e. arrest and charge them for the theft, whether they stole because they’re simply greedy or because they wanted money for drugs.

  9. MC-

    I’m glad you acknowledged that your facebook post came across as heartless. To be honest, it REALLY did. When I see this sort of thing, I don’t think “Oh, that wicked woman, what awful choices she made.” I’m more inclined to think that there, but for the grace of God go I. We were lucky to have good families, good support systems, good communities, etc. As a result, the stupid choices I made in my teens (and EVERY teen makes some dumb decisions) were minor ones, didn’t involve drugs or alcohol, and didn’t affect me for life.

    You don’t have to sell me on the evils of drugs. As a former dispatcher, and someone who has spent years working with the homeless, I’ve seen far too much drug-related heartbreak. But I genuinely believe that if we had well-funded treatment programs in lieu of imprisonment for first-time offenders, that would likely be a very good thing.

    The benefits would far out weigh the drawbacks. Don’t participate, or bail out of the program, and they can do something like that while incarcerated. But if people can be treated, helped, and not have a criminal conviction on their record, they’re far more likely to be able to rebuild their lives. Even incarceration for a misdemeanor can make it far more difficult to find a place to live, a job, etc. And the more difficult it is for first time offenders to rebuild their lives, the less likely they are to get clean & stay clean.

    Also, the point Moose made about addiction frequently being comorbid with mental illness cannot be emphasized enough.

  10. MC- I am by the Grace of God a sober alcoholic. Fortunately I hurt myself rather than others. Looking back, I drank for 5 years tops. But I did major damage to myself. It has been 30 years next month. As a part of my recovery, I have held groups for people with addiction at church. They had been through many rehabs private, public and cold turkey. They often went back. I have a genuine interest in people and the heart for hurting people. One thing that I learned from a friend who was in the Navy and looking at different school to go to he checked out the rehab schools, he said that the drug treatment for the Navy stated that to work, a person had to have a significant spiritual awakening. Well, a small group at church is a good place to have one. I feel sad when any one dies, addict or not. There are people who can’t seem to stop. I would love to wave a magic wand and cure everyone. As a cop, do you think the legalization of alcohol has slowed down alcohol abuse? Has it made your job easier? If you had to pick a substance to legalize or make illegal which would it be?
    Thanks,
    Jayne

    • First off, kudos to you, Jayne! Maintaining sobriety is no small feat.

      I don’t pretend to have all the answers. My function as a LEO is to enforce the laws as they stand today. Regardless of whether I agree with them or not, I took an oath to uphold them, so uphold them I will. Personally, I’m not a fan of legalization of any kind of currently illegal substance. I am but one voice and I’m not really sure I could articulate to you the whys and wherefores of my opinion. It just feels right to me. They may very well be a cop-out (pun totally intended), but that doesn’t make it any less true.

      • “My function as a LEO is to enforce the laws as they stand today.”

        As such, you should spend as much of your free time as you can studying the laws, most especially constitutional law and common law and their histories. If you do this, then in time you might actually enforce the laws as they stand than obeying the perverted rule of man that has been slyly substituted in the place of the rule of law.

        “Regardless of whether I agree with them or not, I took an oath to uphold them, so uphold them I will.”

        You can’t uphold that which you don’t know and don’t understand.

        “Personally, I’m not a fan of legalization of any kind of currently illegal substance.”

        Liberty is an inalienable right. So is property (and drugs are property). For many people drugs are an intangible part of their lives, so drugs are protected under the right to life.

        “I am but one voice and I’m not really sure I could articulate to you the whys and wherefores of my opinion. It just feels right to me. They may very well be a cop-out (pun totally intended), but that doesn’t make it any less true.”

        You have a conflict of interest. You derive your power, your money, your ego, and more from ruling over your fellow citizens. Is it any wonder that you have been corrupted to the point of opposing any increase in the liberty of your fellow citizens or that you “feel” that it is right to continue using fines (theft of money, time, labor), prison (theft of money, time, liberty), and violence (theft of the right of life)?

        I don’t believe you’ve ever taken a bribe, kickback, favor, or done any other individual act of corruption. You are professionally corrupt. I think that’s worse. It’s rational for an individual to take a bribe. They get something out of it, more than what they lose. It is irrational for a profession to subvert it’s fundamental purpose. You get something out of it, power and perks, but it’s less than what you lose – liberty and the rule of law.

        First they came for the pot heads, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a pot head.

        Then they came for the acid heads, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an acid head.

        Then they came for the coke heads and then the crack heads, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a coke or crack head.

        Then they came for the smokers, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a smoker.

        Then they came for me, but there wasn’t anyone left to speak up for me.

        • I’m mostly okay with you having a space to voice your opposing voice here. However, your assessment that I “derive my power, money, ego, and more from ruling over fellow citizens” is ridiculous. Based on your lengthy responses to this post, I’m not looking to engage you in debate as I’m pretty sure you aren’t interested in anyone’s point of view that may differ from yours.

          I thank you for offering a differing opinion in regard to the post.

  11. Personally, I support decriminalization of pot, but NOT any other drugs. FWIW, how often do you hear of pot smokers (who use no other illegal drugs) breaking into cars, houses, and committing a boatload of other crimes just to keep their habit going? Contrast that with a typical crack/meth/heroin/prescription narcotics users?

    Enforcement effort and jail space should be devoted to drugs that wreck families and people’s lives, not something like pot. Otherwise, a patrolman who arrests someone for a dime bag of weed and takes them to jail does nothing for public safety except removing an otherwise fine police officer from the streets for 2-3 hours to fill out jail paperwork.

  12. I can’t agree more with many of the viewpoints other folks have already expressed. I see addiction as being both psychological and physiological and decriminalization having both good and bad possible outcomes. For my own opinion, I have to agree most vigorously with those who were speaking to the financial burden of the war on drugs. It’s a failure, hands down. Just say no, above the influence, DARE (I’m so sorry, it was great but not helpful when it came to drugs), really aren’t successful. There seems to be a pattern, people who are going to try things are going to try them, and those who aren’t, won’t. Of those people who try things some will develop addictions and others will not. Some will become addicted to one thing, others to another. It’s an incredibly complex issue, and I do feel that people who are otherwise productive members of society and don’t harm others shouldn’t be stigmatized as a problem when they’re not. I won’t specify as to how many people I have known over the years who were dabblers or even full blown addicts, but I will say this- I had more problems with drunks than most others under the influence of substances. Most of the cops I’ve known over the past few years, and other public safety folks in my own family are also open about how pro-legalization of weed they are. Other drugs, the opinions vary as much as the people with them. In the end, it’s too complex to cover all the issues here but I think most can agree that something needs to change.

  13. Intresting subject,I was a one time,doing some stuff at one time and enjoyed it. 29 years ago,I quit because of something which come down on the wire. I was going in and out of a divorce,not handeling this very well. Led up to almost a.45 at her head and knowing I can pull the trigger[ all that skill,horror and something I can’t forget of a Green Hell]. Sobered up and turn everything I had to the local PD untill I came to grips on what my life was going to turn out on and live again. Addiction? I think of all those guys going home on morphine,let loose in this GREAT F**KING COUNTRY to fend as best they could. Forgotten and everyone happy to go on. Legalize is a thought,we’re the worest country for any type of sense,the “war” on drugs isn’t working….see what happened during Prohibition didn’t work and look what happened: Mob control of trucking,waste removal,entertament,food,and anything else you can think of. Chicago PD was Big Al’s private armyand NYPD wasn’t too far behind,profitsharing was good. Get rid of the 30’s drug reefer madness and bring some sense that everyone can understand. And let’s solve some problems of saving ourselfs before it’s too late.

  14. Addiction is not a disease. Addiction is a habit. What is a habit? It is a pattern of thoughts & actions. What determines ones thoughts and actions? Ones choices.

    What is choice, such as choosing to smoke crack? It is liberty. What is choosing not to smoke crack? The same thing – liberty.

    When you favor prohibiting drugs, or addiction, or other choices, you are choosing to prohibit liberty.

    “This mother is not unique. She, and those of her ilk, are frequently responsible for an untold number of property crimes. Dope is a victimless crime? Tell that to the citizen (albeit stupid citizen) that left his/her laptop in plain sight in a locked vehicle. ”

    There is a good reason why so many drug addicts and users commit so many property crimes (and also prostitution etc): drugs are PROHIBITIVELY expensive. In other words, when you prohibit property under penalty of forfeiture of everything you have and could ever have, (all forms of liberty and property are subject to forfeiture and resistance to such forfeiture results in the forfeiture of life) then prices go up. Way up. A heavy drug habit in a free market would cost maybe 500 bucks a year, easily affordable by working any part time job.

    Drugs are a victimless crime. Prohibition however is a crime that churns out an ever larger number of victims.

  15. ” While your average addict may not get the assistance they need from an incarceration setting, I assure you there are programs inside the corrections system designed specifically for those that suffer from the disease of addiction”

    If it worked I wouldn’t be spending my time writing these comments that may never be read, or responded to, or have any impact at all.

    There is an interesting and true thing Brand says: “The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.”

    That’s exactly it right there- why do people become addicts? To dull the pain of existence.

    What does prohibition do? I recently read a DEA agent stating the purpose of prohibition better than anyone I’ve ever seen, but I unfortunately neglected to save the quote. To paraphrase, the goal is to “make drug use the most expensive, painful, miserable, awful recreational experience possible” (he went further than that though).

    So if addiction is a disease, and the drugs are a self medication to dull the pain, how does ratcheting up the pain level hundreds or thousands of times help the patient? How does that even make a lick of sense?

    Here’s a really great article that explains why good people, including good cops, are corrupt: http://www.drugwarrant.com/2011/08/if-you-support-prohibition-and-claim-not-to-be-corrupt-then-give-us-our-laboratory/

  16. One more thing…there was a time in this country when anyone, including kids, could purchase cocaine, opium, hashish, tobacco, and alcohol. All were readily available in every town. Which one of these five drugs caused so much violence, crime, and social problems that there were evermore popular calls to prohibit it until finally at last it was prohibited?